ANTWERP, Belgium — A team of Russian athletes competing at the World Outgames participated in a NOH8 Campaign photo that was released this earlier this week.
The photo by the Team Russia athletes was made according their Facebook page as “a bold and brave statement of solidarity with their fellow lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender Russian citizens.”
The group said that they want to bring more attention to Russia’s recently passed anti-gay legislation, which has led to considerable debate on whether the 2014 Winter Olympic Games should still take place in Sochi, and if so, what could potentially happen to visiting LGBT athletes taking part in the games.
The legislation, signed into law in June by Russian President Vladimir Putin, bans the distribution of “propaganda of nontraditional sexual relations.”
The law provides for imposition of steep fines for providing information about the lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) community to minors or holding LGBT pride rallies. Persons found breaking the law will be fined up to 5,000 rubles ($156) for an individual and up to 1 million rubles ($31,000) for a company, including media organizations.
Article continues belowCurrently, the Putin government has publicly stated that Russia will comply with the Olympic Charter’s provision against discrimination of any kind, but has also noted that the new anti-gay law would be enforced the games.
The Russian government has also cautioned that it will permit no form of protests at the games in Sochi scheduled to begin in February.